Ecologies and Politics of Health: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ecologies and Politics of Health

1st Edition

Edited by Brian King, Kelley A. Crews


298 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Human health exists at the interface of environment and society. Decades of work by researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers has shown that health is shaped by a myriad of factors, including the biophysical environment, climate, political economy, gender, social networks, culture, and infrastructure. Yet while there is emerging interest within the natural and social sciences on the social and ecological dimensions of human disease and health, there have been few studies that address them in an integrated manner.

Ecologies and Politics of Health brings together contributions from the natural and social sciences to examine three key themes: the ecological dimensions of health and vulnerability, the socio-political dimensions of human health, and the intersections between the ecological and social dimensions of health.The thirteen case study chapters collectively present results from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the United States, Australia, and global cities. Section one interrogates the utility of several theoretical frameworks and conventions for understanding health within complex social and ecological systems. Section two concentrates upon empirically grounded and quantitative work that collectively redefines health in a more expansive way that extends beyond the absence of disease. Section three examines the role of the state and management interventions through historically rich approaches centering on both disease- and non-disease-related examples from Latin America, Eastern Africa, and the United States. Finally, Section four highlights how health vulnerabilities are differentially constructed with concomitant impacts for disease management and policy interventions.

This timely volume advances knowledge on health-environment interactions, disease vulnerabilities, global development, and political ecology. It offers theoretical and methodological contributions which will be a valuable resource for researchers and practitioners in geography, public health, biology, anthropology, sociology, and ecology.


"It is definitely a volume worth reading. As I read, I reflected on the voices of the medical geographers who informed me as a graduate student more than three decades ago: John Hunter, Charles Good, Robert Roundy, Melinda Meade, and later, Jon Mayer and a myriad of others. With the exception of Mayer, those authors shared a rural, largely infectious disease focus in much of their work. Although King and Crews outline some of the shortcomings of earlier medical geography, geography has a long tradition of exploring the health implications of human–environment interactions."AAG Review of Books, East-West Center, USA

Table of Contents

Foreword Billie Lee Turner II Chapter 1: Human Health at the Nexus of Ecologies and Politics Kelley A. Crews and Brian King Section I: Health within Social and Ecological Systems Chapter 2: Positioning Health in a Socio-Ecological Systems Framework Kelley A. Crews Chapter 3: Capitals and Context: Bridging Health and Livelihoods in Smallholder Frontiers Leah K. VanWey, James R. Hull, and Gilvan Guedes Chapter 4: Change in Tropical Landscapes: Implications for Health and Livelihoods Kenneth R. Young Section II: Empirical Approaches to Injury and Infectious Disease Chapter 5: Buruli Ulcer Disease: The Unknown Environmental and Social Ecology of a Bacterial Pathogen Jiaguo Qi, Lindsay P. Campbell, Jenni van Ravensway, Andrew O. Finley, Richard W. Merritt, and M. Eric Benbow Chapter 6: The Ecology of Injuries in Matlab, Bangladesh Elisabeth D. Root and Michael Emch Chapter 7: Human Settlement, Environmental Change, and Frontier Malaria in the Brazilian Amazon Marcia C. Castro and Burton H. Singer Section III: Disease Histories, the State, and [Mis]Management Chapter 8: Vaccines, Fertility, and Power: The Political Ecology of Indigenous Health and Well-Being in Lowland Latin America Kendra McSweeney and Zoe Pearson Chapter 9: Tsetse and Trypanosomiasis: Eradication, Control, and Coexistence in Africa Paul F. McCord, Joseph P. Messina, & Carolyn A. Fahey Chapter 10: Geographies of HIV and Marginalization: A Case Study of HIV/AIDS Risk among Mayan Communities in Western Belize Cynthia Pope Chapter 11: The Mosquito State: How Technology, Capital and State Practice Mediate the Ecologies of Public Health Paul Robbins and Jacob C. Miller Section IV: Health Vulnerabilities Chapter 12: Exposure to Heat Stress in Urban Environments Olga Wilhelmi, Alex de Sherbinin, and Mary Hayden Chapter 13: Power, Race, and the Neglect of Science: The HIV Epidemics in Sub-Saharan Africa Eileen Stillwaggon and Larry Sawers Chapter 14: Disease as Shock, HIV/AIDS as Experience: Coupling Social and Ecological Responses in Sub-Saharan Africa Brian King Chapter 15: Futures for Ecologies and Politics of Health Brian King and Kelley A. Crews

About the Editors

Brian King is an Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Kelley A. Crews is an Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Texas at Austin, USA and currently is on leave as a Visiting Scientist and Program Director at the National Science Foundation, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Human Geography

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Disease & Health Issues